Category Archives: in-class exercises

in-class discussion, 11.17.04

Today we’re wrapping up Radway, and I want to pay particular attention to her conclusions, and what significance those conclusions bear for the project of cultural studies (and particularly Marxist-inflected cultural studies). Start today by spending 15-20 minutes in your small group discussing her conclusions, with respect to the following questions:
1. What are her conclusions?
2. How are those conclusions made complex or left ambiguous? Are there ways in which her conclusions might have been made more satisfying?
3. What do the complexities or ambiguities of Radway’s conclusions suggest about the project of cultural studies?
Think, too, about what other questions Radway’s conclusions raise for you. We’ll come back together after 15-20 minutes to talk as a large group.

in-class discussion, 09.29.04

I want you to begin today — and I know this will come as a shock — in your small groups. Spend about 20 minutes discussing the two essays by Althusser that you read for today; what are the major points that you should glean from each? What concepts or ideas that we’ve encountered earlier in the semester do these essays make use of? Where do you need clarification on the essays’ arguments?
Each group should come back with at least one answer to each of the following questions:

  • How does the Althusserian position seem to deviate from the ideas about social structure that we’ve encountered in previous authors?
  • In what ways do the positions staked out by the two essays seem to differ?

After 20 minutes, we’ll come back together for a larger discussion.

in-class discussion, 09.15.04

Last time, we began a jigsaw reading project; each of you read one of four essays, the readers of each essay spent 20 minutes talking together, and then each of you returned to your small groups to present your essay. Some of you were absent on Monday; you are still responsible to your group for providing them with insight into your essay.
For today, everyone should have read the selections from Capital and one other essay. Please break into discussion groups, and spend 20 minutes re-discussing the essays. Having read more now, do the arguments begin to make more sense to you? Where do you begin to sense connections between the four essays? Try to articulate the concepts that bind the essays together.
Each group should return to the whole with a concept that connects the essays, and any concepts that need further explaining.

in-class discussion, 09.13.04

To begin today’s discussion: please divide up into 4 groups by essay, such that all the As (who read the excerpt from Capital) meet up, and all the Bs, and so on. In those four groups, spend 20 minutes or so discussing the essay you read, with an eye toward understanding it well enough to explain it to your peers. What is the key argument of the essay? What are the key terms that the essay uses? How do those terms affect the development of the essay’s argument?
After 20 minutes or so, I’ll ask you to return to your usual small groups; in those groups, you’ll spend the rest of class outlining the major concepts of each essay for your peers. Where are there clear conceptual overlaps among the essays? Where do you note differences?
Make note of any questions that you have as you discuss, such as terms or concepts that need definition; I’ll collect those at the end of class today.

in-class discussion, 09.06.04

To begin our work today, I’m going to ask you to find your way into groups of four — spread out as needed. In these small groups, discuss the following questions with very specific reference to the two texts that you read for today:

  • What connections do you see between these two texts?
  • What makes Berger’s text a piece of Marxist analysis?
  • What questions does it raise for you about Marxism?

Each group much come back with:

  • A quote from each of the texts, and some idea of how the two are connected
  • One or two questions that the texts or their connection raised for you

Spend 20 minutes in these small groups; I’ll be calling upon each group to present their thoughts upon your return.